Regular procedure


Country Report: Regular procedure Last updated: 27/02/23



General (scope, time limits)

Applications for international protection shall be examined and decided upon by PMM.[1] “Migration experts” from the Department of International Protection are in charge of processing applications at Headquarters and the PDMM

A decision shall be issued within 6 months from registration.[2] However, this is not a binding time limit, as the law states that in case an application cannot be decided within 6 months the applicant will be notified. In practice, severe delays are observed in the completion of the international protection procedure, against the backdrop of capacity shortages at the PDMM. Applicants may wait for years for a decision to be taken on their application.[3]

There are no statistics on the number of decisions taken by PMM in 2017-2021. The latest available statistics referred to 30,380 decisions taken in 2016, of which 23,886 were positive and 6,494 were negative.[4] In İzmir in 2019, there were concerns that there was a quota for the number of positive decisions in a year after an applicant was told their application had been rejected for that reason. In İzmir PDMM international protection applications from those who have been recognised as refugees by UNHCR were generally not rejected in 2020,[5] although there had been a judgment from Bolu 1st Administrative Court where an Iranian recognized as a refugee by UNHCR had had his application for international protection rejected.[6] In İzmir in 2021 cases against the rejection of the application for international protection were generally rejected, regardless of the applicant’s nationality. [7] In 2021 in the Central Anatolia region PDMMs started to issue automated rejection decisions with no grounds. Most of the applicants had already been granted UNHCR refugee status but their applications were also rejected. There was no clear stance on this issue by UNHCR.

IP applications of people holding refugee status from UNHCR and living in TR for 10 years and 12 years were kept on shelves but in 2021 we observed that DGMM rejected those applications in mass. We believe that PDMM’s staff does not have the capacity to deal with international protection applications. For the last 1-2 years, international protection applications have been taken off the shelves and negative decisions have been made.

Overall, practice on the examination and the decision-making at first instance is not uniform across provinces. The quality of interviews, the assessment of evidence, the lack of identification of vulnerable groups, the lack of training of migration experts as well as the lack of available interpreters have been reported as particular concerns. Moreover, in certain cases Administrative Courts have also confirmed quality gaps at first instance. In 2020, there were concerns that negative decisions were issued without giving valid justifications.[8] Copies of the interview form are not usually shared, however, the PDMM office in Central Anatolia, Kayseri does give a copy of the interview form to the applicant. They have prepared new international protection guidelines and a new interview template. They state the reason for the rejection by checking the relevant box on the form. If they believe the applicant makes a false statement in the interview, they check that box on the form but do not elaborate further on the applicable reasons.[9]


Prioritised examination and fast-track processing

Persons with special needs shall be “given priority with respect to all rights and proceedings” pertaining to the adjudication of international protection applications.[10] In practice, despite the severe obstacles to Registration, persons with special needs such as women in advanced stages of pregnancy, persons with acute health needs, or unaccompanied children have benefitted from prioritisation in the registration of international protection applications at the PDMM.[11] Detailed figures on the number of persons concerned by said prioritisation are not available, however.


Personal interview

Under the regular procedure, the competent PDMM is required to carry out a personal interview with applicants within 30 days from registration,[12] to be conducted by personnel trained in fields such as refugee law, human rights and country of origin information.[13]

Applicants are notified of the assigned place and date of their personal interview at the end of their Registration interview.[14] If the interview cannot be held on the assigned date, a new interview date must be issued.[15] The postponed interview date must be no earlier than 10 days after the previous appointment date. Additional interviews may be held with the applicant if deemed necessary.[16] In practice, however, applicants face significant delays, often up to several months, before a first interview.

The applicant may be accompanied in the interview by: (a) family members; (b) his or her lawyer as an observer; (c) an interpreter; (ç) a psychologist, pedagogue, child expert or social worker; and (d) the legal representative where the applicant is a child.[17]

Audio or video records of the interviews may be taken, though in current practice no such audio or video records are used.

Generally, practice is not uniform across provinces and the quality of the procedure depends on the case officer handling the application.[18] There are two pilot decision centres located in İstanbul and Ankara. According to civil society and lawyers, however, the quality of interviews remains low in most PDMM.

Overall, in 2019 stakeholders reported that refugee status determination (RSD) interviews were often not carried out under proper conditions, vulnerabilities were often not considered and Afghans’ applications for international protection seemed to be rejected by default.[19] For instance, in Karabük police officers reportedly undertook RSD interviews and issued many rejections especially against Afghans. There had been no positive RSD decisions by early 2020 from the Gaziantep region. Afghans in particular received an automated rejection in Elazığ, Malatya and Adıyaman.[20] In İzmir there was also an alleged increase in rejections of Afghan applications in 2019. In some cases, PMM notified new interview dates to those who had already been recognised as refugees by UNHCR – especially for Afghans registered in Denizli and Çanakkale. The number of rejections was high in these two cities in general. In Van the quality of RSD interviews decreased dramatically after the takeover by PMM. Problems continued in 2020 with additional issues accessing interpreters because of the pandemic – this is both because less people including interpreters were working generally, but also because there were problems with access to PDMM offices and detention centres for all stakeholders including interpreters.

Interviews do not depend on credible country of origin information (COI) or there are discriminatory practices against specific groups such as Kurdish people coming from Iraq. It is unclear whether the vulnerabilities of specific groups are considered. There seems to be a general tendency to find a way to reject applications and the legal grounds of rejected decisions are quite superficial.[21]

In 2020, interviews were mostly not carried out from March to June in the context of COVID-19.

In 2020 the Constitutional Court ruled that a deportation decision of a Karachay Turk from the Russian Federation was based on an insufficient Country of Origin research as it did not take into consideration the non-refoulment principle and thus violated the prohibition of ill-treatment principle. The court awarded 3,000 TL (approx. 300 EUR at time of writing) as non-pecuniary damages.[22]

In 2021, all stakeholders reported the biggest obstacle was accessing the procedure at all (see Registration of the asylum application).


Applicants shall be provided with interpretation services, if they so request, for the purpose of personal interviews carried out at application, registration and personal interview stages.[23]

Regarding the quality of interpretation during personal interviews, the personal interview shall be postponed to a later date where the interview official identifies that the applicant and the interpreter have difficulties understanding each other.[24] The interviewer shall inform the interpreter of the scope of the interview and the rules to be complied with.[25]

In 2019, the lack of adequate numbers of interpreters at the PDMM remained a major difficulty. At times PDMMs have not accepted interpreters provided by civil society organisations if they are not interpreters under oath.[26] In small cities, notaries are not willing to go to removal centres but removal centre administrations still request interpreters under oath.[27] In smaller provinces, individuals from within the registered asylum seeker communities are brought in as interpreters. Applicants generally report concerns regarding such community interpreters’ observance of the confidentiality of the information they share and the quality of interpretation. There have also been concerns of people unofficially employed as interpreters by the authorities.

In most provinces, there are shortages or a lack of interpreters in specific rare languages spoken by applicants. Moreover, the number of female interpreters remains very low.[28] Lack of sensitivity to and censorship of applicant’s statements have also been reported in claims relating to sexual orientation or gender identity.[29] Lawyers have expressed concerns about the quality of interpretation in removal centres including in important interviews on return.[30] Problems persisted in 2020-2021.

In 2021, an applicant appealed against the negative decision on their international protection application issued by Aydın PDMM. It was claimed that they were not informed about the purpose and potential outcomes of the personal interview during which there were no interpreter present. The court dismissed the case ruling that applicant’s fear of persecution is not well grounded and their protection application was substantially economic.[31]


The interviewing official shall use a standard template called “International Protection Interview Form” to record the applicant’s statements during the personal interview. This form is a template consisting of a predefined set of questions that must be presented to the applicant covering basic biographic information, profile indicators, reasons for flight and fear of return, among other.[32]

The interview official is required to read out the contents of the International Protection Interview Form to the applicant at the end of the interview and ask the applicant whether they are any aspects of the transcript that he or she wants to correct and whether there is any additional information he or she would like to present.[33]

An interview report shall then be drafted at the end of the interview, and the applicant shall sign it and receive a copy.[34] In practice, applicants are not given a copy of the interview report.[35]



Decisions must be communicated in writing.[36] Notifications of negative decisions should lay down the objective reasons and legal grounds of the decision. Where an applicant is not represented by a lawyer, he or she shall also be informed about the legal consequences of the decision and applicable appeal mechanisms. Furthermore, the notification of all decisions within the scope of the LFIP shall give due consideration to the fact that the “persons concerned are foreign nationals” and a separate directive shall be issued by DGMM to provide specifics on modalities of written notifications.[37] In practice, the decisions are in Turkish but translated by the PDMM into the language of applicants.[38]

The LFIP provides two separate remedies against negative decisions issued in the regular procedure, one optional administrative appeal remedy and one judicial appeal remedy. When faced with a negative status decision by DGMM under the regular procedure, applicants may:[39]

  1. File an administrative appeal with the International Protection Evaluation Commissions (IPEC) within 10 days, and file an onward judicial appeal with the competent Administrative Court only if the initial administrative appeal is unsuccessful; or
  2. Directly file a judicial appeal with the competent Administrative Court within 30 days.

In practice, the latter remedy is applied. Both types of appeals have automatic suspensive effect. Under the LFIP, applicants shall generally be allowed to remain in Türkiye until the full exhaustion of remedies provided by LFIP against negative decisions,[40] subject to the derogation discussed in Removal and Refoulement.

There was a pilot project in 2020 to conduct e-Hearings but this did not involve the peace courts or administrative courts.[41]

Court cases were delayed in March and April 2020 due to COVID 19 and legal statutory time limits were suspended from March to June 2020.[42] In 2021, there were also delays. In İzmir, trial periods were extended in administrative law cases. Whereas previously a decision had been taken in 7-8 months, in 2021/ early 2022 one stakeholder had files pending for more than one year, without a hearing date.[43]

Unregistered refugees still had difficulties entering public institutions due to the HES code application in 2021. They could not enter the courthouse and had to wait outside for their lawyers.

In 20201 legal aid offices carried out assignment processes smoothly, with no exceptions or discrimination including against applicants having YTS (foreign terrorist fighter) codes. In criminal courts, the compulsory defense mechanism does not function as well. When the person is deprived of this right, the court should remind them of their right to have a defense lawyer. Some foreign citizens cases have been settled without the assistance of a lawyer at all.[44]

The presiding judges of the Ankara 1st Administrative Court have changed, and the new judges no longer accept the assignment letters of legal aid lawyers – they require a power of attorney instead. This new application started in October 2021. They said that the legal aid assignment letter was only internal correspondence so the acceptance of the assignment letter was illegal.

Administrative appeal before IPEC

Negative decisions in the regular procedure may be appealed at the IPEC within 10 days of the written notification of the decision.[45]

IPEC are envisioned as a specialised administrative appeal body and serve under the coordination of the DGMM Headquarters.[46] One or more IPEC may be created under the auspices of either the DGMM Headquarters and/or PDMM.

Each Committee will be chaired by a DGMM representative, and will feature a second DGMM official as well as representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UNHCR may be invited to assign a representative in observer status.[47] DGMM personnel assigned to the IPEC will be appointed for a period of 2 years whereas the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs representatives will be appointed for one-year term. IPEC are envisioned to serve as full-time specialised asylum tribunals as members will not be assigned any additional duties.[48]

IPEC are competent to evaluate and decide appeals against the following decisions:[49]

  1. Negative status decisions issued in the regular procedure;
  2. Other negative decisions on applicants and international protection status holders, not pertaining to international protection status matters as such;
  3. Cessation or Withdrawal of status decisions.

On the other hand, decisions on administrative detention, inadmissibility decisions and decisions in the accelerated procedure are outside the competence of IPEC.

IPEC review the initial DGMM decision on both facts and law.[50] The Commission may request the full case file from DGMM if deemed necessary. IPEC are authorised to interview applicants if they deem necessary or instruct the competent PDMM to hold an additional interview with the applicant.

Whereas the LFIP does not lay down a time limit for the finalisation of appeals filed with IPEC, Article 100(3) RFIP provides that the Commission shall decide on the appeal application and notify the applicant within 15 days of receiving the application, which may be extended by 5 more days.

IPEC do not have the authority to directly overturn DGMM decisions. The Commission may either reject the appeal and thereby endorse the initial DGMM decision, or it may request DGMM to reconsider its initial decision in terms of facts and law.[51] Therefore, decisions by IPEC cannot be considered as binding on DGMM. If DGMM chooses to stick to its initial negative decision, the applicant will have to file a consequent judicial appeal with the competent Administrative Court.

In the past, IPEC did not seem to examine appeals against negative decisions. In one known case of a lawyer having submitted an appeal to IPEC, the lawyer has not received any information for several months.[52] It seems from lawyers and experts in the field that the IPEC is not an effective administrative appeal mechanism and applicants prefer directly filing a judicial appeal before the Administrative Court.[53]

Judicial appeal at the Administrative Court

Negative decisions in the regular procedure may also be directly appealed at the competent Administrative Courts within 30 days of the written notification of the decision.[54] There is no requirement for applicants to first exhaust the IPEC step before they file a judicial appeal against a negative decision. However, if they choose to file an administrative appeal with IPEC first, depending on the outcome of the IPEC appeal, they can appeal a negative IPEC decision onward at the Administrative Court.

Under Turkish law, Administrative Court challenges have to be filed in the area where the act or decision in question was taken.[55]

While the LFIP has not created specialised asylum and immigration courts, Türkiye’s High Council of Judges and Prosecutors shall determine which Administrative Court chamber in any given local jurisdiction shall be responsible for appeals brought on administrative acts and decisions within the scope of the LFIP.[56] In 2015, the Council passed a decision to designate the 1st Chamber of each Administrative Court as responsible for appeals against decisions within the scope of LFIP. That said, these competent chambers continue to deal with all types of caseloads and do not exclusively serve as asylum and immigration appeal bodies. There have been concerns in the past about the quality of decisions and the high turnover of judges in magistrates’ courts meaning they do not always have time to become knowledgeable on this type of case.[57]

There are no time limits imposed on Administrative Courts to decide on appeals against negative decisions in the regular procedure. Administrative Court applications are normally adjudicated in a written procedure. In theory, an applicant can request a hearing, which may or may not be granted by the competent court.

Administrative Courts are mandated to review the PDMM decision both on facts and law. If the application is successful, the judgment annuls the PDMM decision, but does not overturn it as such. According to administrative law, the first instance authority is obligated to either revise the challenged act or decision or appeal the Administrative Court decision to Council of State (Danıştay) within 30 days.[58]

Case-law of the Administrative Courts confirm that there are persisting gaps in the quality of first instance decisions. The Administrative Courts of Ankara and İstanbul are regarded as the most expert courts in refugee law issues. Both courts quite diligently examine whether the negative decisions on international protection application are in line with the non-refoulement principle and have annulled decisions based on an incorrect assessment on the part of the DGMM. For instance, in a case of Christian Iranian applicant,[59] the Administrative Court of Ankara rejected the argument of the PMM and ruled that, according to Article 93 LFIP, the PMM should have collected information and evaluated the claim based on objective and subjective evidence such as the current condition of Christians in Iran based on UNHCR and international NGOs’ reports, as well as the personal story of the applicant. The court also noted that the DGMM should have assessed in each case whether the applicant should be protected either as a refugee, conditional refugee, or under subsidiary protection.

However, in 2021 one stakeholder noted a more ‘statist’ approach, beginning to dominate the administrative court in Ankara. This has led to a less favourable attitude to granting ‘privileges’ to foreign citizens and is probably linked to rising xenophobia in the country. Courts of other provinces consult the Ankara Administrative Court regarding refugee cases, so this negative attitude could spread throughout Türkiye.[60]

Decisions in İzmir started to become inconsistent in 2021 and the quality of decisions was poor compared to previous years.

In 2021 Manisa PDMM rejected a Baha’i family’s application claiming that Baha’is are not oppressed in Iran. This case is pending before the Ankara Administrative Court, but first instance courts have rejected similar cases in other provinces. In early 2022, the Ordu Administrative Court rejected the appeal of a person who converted his religion. It can be appealed, but Ordu is linked to the Samsun Regional Administrative Court, and Samsun RAC generally gives out negative decisions. It is not possible to file a complaint to the Constitutional Court or the ECtHR until a deportation decision is issued. In practice, while waiting for this deportation decision, the foreign identity number of the applicant gets deactivated. This means that people cannot access basic services such as health and education. When you appeal against the rejection of the international protection application, it gets activated again. But, it gets deactivated once you receive a final rejection decision about the international protection application. In addition, if a deportation decision is issued, the applicant’s foreign identity number does not get reactivated. This is one way that foreign citizens feel pressure to apply for voluntary return and leave Türkiye. Putting barriers to access fundamental rights and services is used as a tool of oppression.[61]

Judges have little legal/practical knowledge of international protection procedures. Sometimes they request a briefing from PDMM about the country of origin to decide. Since most judges do not speak English, they cannot access the country-of-origin information.[62]

Onward appeal before the Regional Administrative Court and the Council of State

Applicants have the possibility of filing an onward appeal with the Regional Administrative Court and then the Council of State within 30 days.[63] There is no time limit for the Regional Administrative Court and the Council of State to decide on the application. The Council of State decision on the onward appeal will constitute the final decision on the application since it cannot be further appealed.

It is difficult to give an exact number of refused and accepted decisions by the Regional Administrative Court and the Council of State. However, the following cases provide examples from case law:

  • In a case rejected by the Administrative Court of Ankara, the Council State approved the court’s decision on the international protection application of an Afghan family who had stated in their personal interview that their reason of entering Türkiye was “to access better healthcare for their two disabled daughters” which is not a legal basis for international protection.[64]
  • In another case concerning an Iranian applicant who did not appear before the PDMM of the assigned satellite city, the Council of State approved the rejection decision of the Administrative Court of Konya which had ruled that the applicant had not presented any evidence or statement on his delay in discharging his administrative duty. The applicant had claimed that “he was under depression during this time” in his appeal before the Council of State.[65]


Legal assistance

All applicants for and beneficiaries of international protection have a right to be represented by an attorney in relation to “all acts and decisions within the scope of the International Protection section of the LFIP”, under the condition that they pay for the lawyer’s fees themselves.[66]

In principle, a notarised power of attorney is required for a lawyer to represent the asylum seeker,[67] unless the applicant benefits from the Legal Aid Service, in which case the appointment letter is deemed sufficient to represent the applicant. That said, legal aid lawyers have reported being unable to enter the premises of PDMM without a power of attorney – particularly younger lawyers.[68] In 2019 in Sivas and Kırıkkale, there were judgments where the court ruled against charging lawyers representing refugee applicants without a power of attorney 100 TL (around 15 EUR).[69]

As per the Union of Notaries Circular 2016/3 of 2 March 2016, the International Protection Applicant Identification Card is included in the list of documents accepted by public notaries. Still, the power of attorney requirement entails additional financial costs, which vary depending on location, and poses substantial obstacles to applicants in detention.

Legal assistance at first instance

Lawyers and legal representatives can accompany applicants during the personal interview.[70] Furthermore, lawyers and legal representatives are guaranteed access to all documents in the file and may obtain copies, with the exception of documents pertaining to national security, protection of public order and prevention of crime.[71] International protection applicants and status holders are also free to seek counselling services provided by NGOs.[72]

These safeguards, however, are inscribed as “freedoms” as opposed to “entitlements” that would create a positive obligation on the state to secure the actual supply and provision of legal counselling, assistance and representation services. In some cases, not necessarily linked to the international protection procedure, DGMM has prohibited lawyers from providing oral counselling to clients in the absence of a power of attorney.

The actual supply of free of charge and quality legal assistance to asylum seekers in Türkiye remains limited mainly due to practical obstacles. That said, EU funding under the Facility for Refugees in Türkiye was directed to UNHCR and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (UTBA) for a €5million project launched in January 2018 for the provision legal aid to asylum seekers and refugees in 18 provinces.[73] This led to improvements in the field, as more bar associations have become involved in the area of international and temporary protection. The bar associations of the 18 provinces covered by the legal aid project (Ankara, İzmir, İstanbul, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Antakya, Kayseri, Adana, Denizli, Aydın, Bursa, Çanakkale, Kilis, Mersin, Trabzon, Edirne, Van, Erzurum) have set up separate lists of lawyers specially trained in refugee law to deal inter alia with international protection procedures. Only specially trained lawyers are eligible for taking on a case,[74] although several stakeholders in 2021 noted that training sessions were run for a very high number of lawyers at once. This had caused some concerns about the quality of the training and the impact of lawyers less well-trained working on cases.[75]

Cases can concern deportation, international or temporary protection procedures, and civil law disputes. Labour and criminal proceedings are excluded.[76]  As most deportation decisions are based on LFIP 54. bd-k, for public security, public health, and links to terrorist organizations, most deportation assignments do not fall within this project’s scope.

In 2020, three provinces were added to the UTBA project: Eskişehir, Sakarya and Çankırı. A new legal clinic will be opened in Kilis in 2021. According to UNHCR, 3,800 refugees and asylum seekers received advice through legal clinics in 2020.[77]

Overall, the project has been seen as extremely beneficial.[78] Benefits have included an increase in refugees’ access to justice and information, as evidenced by information materials on display in removal centres targeted by the project but not in others, which are not project cities.[79] Some concerns have been expressed that the lawyers are not assigned quickly enough in cases that are time-sensitive such as deportation cases. In addition, legal aid budgets are determined according to the number of lawyers and citizens in the province but non-citizens such as applicants for international protection are not considered when the budget is planned.[80] There have also been concerns expressed whether people issued with a security code are able to access legal aid under the scheme although the situation on that point is not clear.[81]

The project was seen as particularly effective in provinces where refugees are concentrated but cannot afford to pay for legal fees and court costs out of their pockets. While the bar associations in the metropolitan areas can provide this service through their legal aid budgets, unfortunately, the bar associations in small cities have not been able to offer well-functioning legal aid to refugees. Thanks to the UTBA project, they can now.

The Union of Bar Associations in Türkiye has also launched a telephone interpretation service for court staff and lawyers providing legal aid to Syrian and non-Syrian applicants in two languages. However, this service cannot be used in Removal Centres as lawyers are not allowed to carry phones in detention facilities,[88] apart from İzmir, Antakya, Van, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, where a fixed line is provided to lawyers.[89]

Beyond the involvement of bar associations, there are a number of NGOs providing modest legal information and assistance services but they do not have the resources and operational capacity to establish a significant level of field presence throughout the country. Considering the size of the asylum-seeking population and Türkiye’s geographical dispersal policy, asylum seekers in most locations do not have access to specialised legal counselling and assistance services by NGOs at first instance. NGOs providing legal assistance and representation to asylum seekers include SGDD-ASAM, Support to Life, International Refugee Rights Association (Uluslararası Mülteci Hakları Derneği), Refugee Rights Türkiye (Mülteci Hakları Merkezi), Mülteci-Der, IKGV and Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association among others. In the absence of any dedicated state funds to fund legal assistance services by NGOs to asylum seekers, the limited amount of project-based external funding available to NGO providers, insufficient prioritisation of direct legal service activities in donor programmes and stringent bureaucratic requirements of project-based funding make it very difficult for specialised NGO legal service providers to emerge and prosper. Access to NGOs was further restricted during COVID-19 due to the suspension of activities and the impossibility to provide in-person services (see Access to NGOs and UNHCR).

NGOs have a vital role to help the functioning of the process more generally. The Bar does not have the sufficient knowledge to identify the needs of refugees, but NGOs do – and they do this on behalf of the Bar Associations. NGOs identify these needs with the help of their translators, protection experts, social workers, and legal advisors and transmit this knowledge to bar associations. In addition, after the Bar Association appoints a lawyer, NGOs and their in-house lawyers follow up on the case and provide information to the appointed legal aid lawyer throughout the trial process.

Complaints or requests are referred to legal clinics. If the request is not urgent, it takes around ten days for an appointment with the legal aid lawyer through legal aid offices because there is also an approval procedure from UNHCR for each appointment.[90]

Legal assistance in judicial appeals

Persons who do not have the financial means to pay a lawyer are to be referred to the state-funded Legal Aid Scheme (Adli Yardım) for judicial appeals in the international protection procedure.[91] The LFIP simply makes reference to the existing Legal Aid Scheme which in theory should be accessible to all economically disadvantaged persons in Türkiye, including foreign nationals.

The Legal Aid Scheme is implemented by the bar associations in each province subject to “means” and “merits” criteria, at the discretion of each bar association board. The assessment of “means” varies across bar associations, with Mersin and Kahramanmaraş requiring a certificate attesting the individual’s financial need (fakirlik belgesi) while others like Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa do not require such a document.[92]

One practical impediment to more active involvement by bar associations is the overall scarcity of legal aid funding made available to bar associations from the state budget. While technically all types of “lawyer services” fall within the scope of legal aid as per Türkiye’s Law on Attorneys, in practice the Legal Aid Scheme in Türkiye provides free legal representation to beneficiaries in relation with judicial proceedings as distinct from legal counselling and consultancy services short of court proceedings. This is indeed a principle reaffirmed by Article 81(2) LFIP, which provides that international protection applicants may seek state-funded legal aid in connection with judicial appeals pertaining to any acts and decisions within the international protection procedure.

The costs associated with bringing a case before an Administrative Court in Türkiye include notary fees for the power of attorney, sanctioned translations of identity documents, court application and other judicial fees and postal fees. Since the Legal Aid Scheme only covers a modest attorney fee, applicants are required to cover these costs from their own resources. Although it is possible to request a waiver of these costs from the court, judges have wide discretion on whether to grant such exemptions and in some cases decline the request without providing any substantial reason.[93]

The level of financial compensation afforded to lawyers within the state-funded Legal Aid Scheme is modest and is typically aimed to attract young lawyers at the early stages of their professional careers. The payments to legal aid lawyers are made on the basis of the type of legal action undertaken as opposed to hours spent on the case.[94] As a result, there are insufficient incentives for legal aid lawyers to dedicate generous amounts of time and effort into asylum cases. That said, the aforementioned legal aid project implemented by UNHCR and the Union of Bar Associations provides targeted funding to 18 bar associations for international and temporary protection-related cases.

In an interesting case about legal aid, the Constitutional Court ruled in 2020 that a first instance court decision to not provide legal aid to a Russian Federation citizen of Chechen ethnicity violated the applicant’s right to an effective remedy. The Constitutional Court granted him the right to retrial.[95] Following his detention in a removal centre and the deportation decision against him, his legal aid application was rejected by the Administrative Court. Although he was at serious risk of torture in case of his deportation to Russia, the appeal was not deemed to have been filed because legal fees were not paid. S.B. appealed before the Constitutional Court for the violation of “right to life”, “prohibition of torture”, “right to due process”, and “right to an effective remedy”. The Court ruled that there was a violation of the right to an effective remedy and suspended S.B.’s deportation until the appeal had been heard, although his compensation claim was eventually rejected.[96]



[1] Article 78 LFIP.

[2] Article 78(1) LFIP.

[3] Information provided by a lawyer of the İstanbul Bar Association, February 2019.

[4] DGMM, Annual Migration Report 2016, available in Turkish at:, 74-75.

[5] Information provided by a stakeholder in İzmir, February 2020.

[6] 1st Admnistrative Court of Bolu, Case 2019/428, Decision 2019/700. 

[7] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[8] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[9] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[10] Article 67 LFIP.

[11] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[12] Article 75(1) LFIP.

[13]  Article 81(2) RFIP.

[14] Article 69(5) LFIP.

[15] Article 75(4) LFIP.

[16] Article 75(5) LFIP.

[17] Article 82(1) RFIP.

[18] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[19] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[20] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[21] Information provided by a lawyer from the Van Bar Association, March 2020.

[22] Constitutional Court, Kemal Selpagarov case, Decision 2016/12809, 16 January 2020.

[23] Article 70(2) LFIP.

[24] Article 86(2) RFIP.

[25] Article 83(3) RFIP.

[26] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[27] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[28] Information provided by the Women’s Solidarity Foundation, February 2019.

[29] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[30] Information provided by a lawyer from the Antakya Bar Association, February 2020.

[31] 1st Administrative Court of Aydın, decision number 2021/172.

[32] Article 81(5) RFIP.

[33] Article 86(3) RFIP.

[34] Article 75(6) LFIP.

[35] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019 and March 2021.

[36] Article 78(6) LFIP.

[37] Article 100 LFIP.

[38] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2018.

[39] Article 80 LFIP.

[40] Article 80(1)(e) LFIP.

[41] For more information on e-Hearings, see Moroğlu Arseven, Virtual Justice in Türkiye: Where We Are and What to Expect From the Future? 7 January 2021, available at:

[42] Article provided by a stakeholder.

[43] Information from a stakeholder, May 2021.

[44] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[45] Article 80(1)(a) LFIP.

[46] Article 134 RFIP.

[47] Article 145 RFIP.

[48] Article 146 and 147 RFIP.

[49] Article 149 RFIP.

[50] Article 100(1) RFIP.

[51] Article 100(2) RFIP.

[52] Information provided by a lawyer of the İzmir Bar Association, March 2019.

[53] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2018.

[54] Article 80(1)(ç) LFIP.

[55] In Türkiye, not all provinces have Administrative Courts in location. Smaller provinces which do not have an Administrative Court in location are attended by courts operating under the auspices of the nearest Administrative Court. The Administrative Court of each province is divided into several chambers which are designated with numbers.

[56] Article 101 LFIP.

[57] ECRE AIDA Database, ‘Türkiye: Judicial Review of Administrative Detention Decisions’, 28 May 2018, available at:

[58] Article 28 Law on Administrative Court Procedures.

[59] 1st Administrative Court of Ankara, Decision No 2015/849, 22 April 2015.

[60] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[61] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[62] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[63] Article 28 Law on Administrative Court Procedures.

[64] Council of State, 10th Chamber, Decision 2017/4288.

[65] Council of State, 10th Chamber, Decision 2017/5137, 27 November 2017.

[66] Article 81(1) LFIP.

[67] On this point, see Constitutional Court, Decision 2015/87, 8 October 2015, available in Turkish at:

[68] Information provided by a lawyer of the İstanbul Bar Association, March 2019.

[69] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[70] Article 75(3) LFIP.

[71]  Article 94(2) LFIP.

[72]  Article 81(3) LFIP.

[73] Izgazete, ‘Hukuksuz uygulamanın iptalini İzmir Barosu sağladı, 20 January 2018, available in Turkish at: See also UNHCR, Türkiye: Strengthening legal protection and access to justice, May 2018, available at:

[74] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[75] Information from three stakeholders, May 2022.

[76]  Ibid.

[77] UNHCR Türkiye, 2020 Operational Highlights, available at:

[78] Information provided by a lawyer from the İzmir Bar Association, February 2020.

[79] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[80] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021.

[81]  Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[82] Refugee Rights Türkiye, Access to State-Funded Legal Aid Services by Asylum Seekers and Migrants in Türkiye: Challenges and Opportunities, January 2019, available at:

[83] Ibid.

[84] Information provided by a lawyer of the İzmir Bar Association, February 2019.

[85] Information provided by a lawyer from the İstanbul Bar Association.

[86] Information provided by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, February 2019.

[87] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[88] Information provided by a stakeholder in İstanbul, February 2019.

[89] Information provided by stakeholders in İzmir, Antakya, Van, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, March 2020.

[90] Information provided by ASAM Gaziantep February 2020.

[91] Article 81(2) LFIP.

[92] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019; a lawyer of the Şanlıurfa Bar Association, February 2019.

[93] The Council of State ruled in one case that the right to request waiver of the costs should be reminded and examined by the Administrative Court in each case: Decision No 2016/1830, 31 March 2016.

[94] For example, in 2019, the Aydın Bar Association granted 2180 TL for actions before Civil Courts: Aydın Bar Association, Adli Yardım Görevlendirmeleri Ücret Tarifeleri, available in Turkish at:

[95] Constitutional Court, S.B, 2017/19758, 2 December 2020.

[96] Bianet, “Refusal Of Refugee’s Legal Aid Application Is A Violation of The Right to An Effective Remedy” (in Turkish), 10 April 2021, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Türkiye
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection